The Style Arc Ariana Dress is the perfect summer sun dress sewing pattern! Read more for more photos and a full pattern review.
About 8 years ago, I owned a sun dress from American Eagle that I absolutely loved and unfortunately grew out of. Yeah…as an adult I grew out of it! Sometimes ready to wear sizing can run so small.
My husband also loved this dress! Not that I dress for him or anything, but anytime he likes something in my wardrobe I will wear it quite often when we are together! Here’s a grainy old iPhone photo of us circa 2012, featuring the dress.
Sadly, I haven’t been able to find a similar dress that has stood out to me since then. There are plenty of sun dress styles out there, but my issue is that ready-to-wear dresses just don’t fit great on me. Yay for being short! Since I pretty much gave up on searching the racks for a dress, I went on the hunt for the perfect sewing pattern that was fairly close in style to my old dress!
The Style Arc Ariana Dress
As I was browsing Instagram, I came across the cutest button-front sun dress sewing pattern! That pattern is the Style Arc Ariana Dress.
What I love about this pattern is the fitted bodice with princess seam and shirred back panel. I had not done shirring prior to this pattern, so I thought it would be a fun new adventure! Shirring is definitely having a moment right now, so I decided that I needed to jump on board. I also like that the skirt is full but doesn’t flare out like an A-line dress or circle skirt. It drapes very nicely regardless of what fabric you use.
This is my second Style Arc project, my first being the Estelle Ponte Jacket. After that project, I learned that Style Arc’s written instructions are brief, with limited instructional images. I found that having basic knowledge of garment construction is especially important when making their patterns. With that said, when I first reviewed the instructions for the Ariana Dress I didn’t feel that any of the steps would stump me.
Since this would also be my first time shirring, I also knew that I would have to watch a few tutorial videos to get it right. I found this tutorial to be the most helpful and tested my stitches on a scrap fabric before sewing the real deal!
Sewing the Style Arc Ariana Dress
Sizing, Adjustments, and Customization
I chose to sew a size 8. My measurements are 34-29-38. Based on the pattern’s finished measurements chart, size 8 looked like it would be the perfect fit.
As far as adjustments go, I shortened the skirt length by 3 inches. I wanted my dress to be midi length, so I found that I didn’t need to shorten the skirt by much.
For my Style Arc Ariana Dress, I sewed it using a rayon crepe from Blackbird Fabrics. I’m always sewing something out of fabric from Blackbird! They have such a great selection of fabrics. I can always rely on them to have just what I need for a project.
The Sewing Process
I should start off by saying that all these alterations I made definitely could have been avoided if I made a muslin. But to be honest, I hate making muslins on anything other than pants. I guess that’s the price I pay for skipping that step! Though, it has happened enough by now that you’d think I would have learned my lesson 😊
Sewing the main seams of the dress was not as difficult as the shirred back panel. This is mostly because it was my first time doing this technique. My shirring elastic thread tension wasn’t tight enough, as my shirred back panel didn’t shrink down to the measurements called out in the pattern. I did end up having to cut each side of the panel to get the bodice to fit tightly.
I also ended up shortening the straps as they were a bit too long. The straps were slipping off my shoulders and the neckline was a bit lower than I would have liked. Thankfully shortening straps isn’t too difficult!
Lastly, my bodice button placket ended up stretching too much across my boobs. It created some gaping/separation between the left and right front bodice sections. I could have placed the buttons more strategically (or placed more buttons) so that the placket didn’t separate. I solved the issue by sandwiching a few pieces of fusible web tape in between the button placket (Dritz Stitch Witchery is what I use). The button placket is no longer functional, but thanks to the shirred back panel slipping the dress on and off is still easy.
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Final Impression and Results of the Style Arc Ariana Dress Sewing Pattern
I recommend this pattern for intermediate sewists. Being familiar with garment construction helps a lot. As I mentioned previously, the instructions tend to be fairly limited with Style Arc patterns. It’s nice in a sense that it causes me to think about what I already know about sewing clothing. At the same time, I sometimes find myself stumped at a step and just can’t figure it out on my own.
After finishing this dress, I think I finally learned my lesson in that I need to sew a muslin for garments with a fitted bodice. At minimum, I could have sewn the bodice and practiced shirring the back panel and skipped the skirt. Regardless of my stubbornness, I love the design and style of the dress Style Arc Ariana Dress. I’m very happy with how mine turned out!
I hope you enjoyed my honest review of the Style Arc Ariana Dress Sewing Pattern! To see more of my finished projects, you can find them below.